Historic Everett — Research Director
We do much more research than just houses. We can help with your house, or tell you more about Everett’s history. Contact our Research Director, Dave Ramstad (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have more questions.
By Jack O’Donnell and David Dilgard
Researching your house
Everett Public Works
Start with the files at 3200 Cedar Street, 2nd floor (normal business hours, Public Works web site). Tell the clerk at the counter you want to see permit records at the microfiche viewer. They will pull the microfishe for you and let you browse through them, and you can make copies (for free) on their printer. For many houses built before 1909, these may be the only public records available. (The county courthouse burned in 1909, and we lost a lot of valuable records.)
You may discover: builder of the house (often the owner), when water was first turned on, additions and remodeling permits, sewer work, fire repair, roofing, etc. Finding the owner is the key item, which may be on the first water permit.
Snohomish County Assessor
The county assessor website lists the date your house was built. However, many of their records are incorrect. But it’s worth checking anyway.
Everett Public Library — Northwest Room
Armed with names and/or addresses, next go upstairs to the Northwest Room. The library has two historians on staff who can guide you to the Polk Directories. In the pre-telephone era, these were the “white pages” of their day. You can look up the name and learn the occupation and spouse’s name, and sometimes older children’s names. You can follow up in subsequent years to see if they moved. Starting in 1932, the Polk Directories also list by address — this makes it very easy to see who lived in your house.
Also in the NW room at the library: files on many homes, Sanborn insurance maps that show the footprint (maybe there was a barn on your property), high school yearbooks (Everett and Cascade high schools), a couple of books on famous or influential residents, lots of photos, and computerized map resources. The librarians will guide you. Note: the NW room may be locked evenings and weekends. You can ask at the main desk to open the room.
Snohomish County records
Go to the Snohomish County campus, downtown, and look up property records, legal records, and old assessor photographs of your house.